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The New York Times on producing quality native advertising

Native advertising remains a key commercial talking point for legacy publishers in 2016. One such publisher taking this challenge by the scruff of the neck is the New York Times, who in 2014 launched T Brand Studio, a dedicated content creation wing that produces paid native advertising for global brands. In its bid to expand this service internationally, the NYT opened a dedicated European office in London in 2015. We spoke to Kaylee King-Balentine, director of T Brand International, to find out more about the logistical process involved in producing and publishing this kind of content for brands.

T Brand studio has expanded into London – how has that gone? (0:01)

Yeah it’s been really good. We have a small team in London, we have a small team in Paris. And it’s fun, it’s been fun getting to know the brands we’re not working with yet globally, it’s been interesting learning about the different budgets that they have compared to the US, but yeah all good so far. 

What is it that new advertiser clients are looking for? (0:21)

The unique thing that they are looking for when coming to the New York Times is the storytelling, and also our audience. So, we know our audience better than anyone else, and they want us to tell a story that reaches that audience as it is an influential audience. 

Do clients appreciate your commitment to journalistic integrity? (0.35)

Yeah I think it’s important to tell a relatable story. I think we have learned a lot in the studio is that the pieces are authentic, or are real, have a soul to them, have a story, are the ones that are succeeding and doing the best. So I think if publishers can win that battle with brands and convince them to do that and be bolder, they’re gonna win. 

How would you decide upon the narrative? (0:57)

It would totally depend on what they wanna do and what their KPIs are, but we would start from there and work forward with what we find is human interest first usually wins: put people out front, tell that real story, have somebody relate to the subject right away and you’re generally going to win. So of course it would depend on what they want to do, but that would typically be our way forward.  

And it’s not just about video, right? (1.23)

We do video, infographics, interactive data visualisations, articles, photography, anything you can think of. Video tends to get people on the page longer… we found that people tend to stay about 6 times linger if there’s video on the page, but it’s not to say that a great article couldn’t do the same thing.   

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